Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian author and journalist. He spent four years in prison, endured forced military service and was nearly executed for the crime of reading works forbidden by the government. He battled a gambling addiction that once left him a beggar, and he suffered ill health, including epileptic seizures. Despite these challenges, Dostoevsky wrote fiction possessed of groundbreaking, even daring, social and psychological insight and power. Novels like Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov, have won the author acclaim from figures ranging from Franz Kafka to Ernest Hemingway, Friedrich Nietzsche to Virginia Woolf.